River of Life ~Sming's

Me and just me.

Monday, May 29, 2006
Tracing Da Vinci Code
No lar, I am not going to "decode" the book/ movie. Just being kiasu and wanna ride on the wave of this latest hot topic in town. :P

Anyway, watching the movie brought me down the memory lane when I visited Paris last June. I read the book before I went to Paris but I did not really trace the footsteps of Dr. Robert Langdon or Sophie. It is really HOT now that even the travel agents are naming their package after the book.

Well, people, if the movie or book did really intrigue you to trace their steps, there are quite a few Free & Easy packages available. But I am abit confused with their 6D3N or 5D3N package. Not sure what happened to that few nights? May be you would be sleeping in the airport or the travel agents are playing with the timezone. Let me know when you have the info yeah !

Anyway, I went with Lorena last year. Not my bf. Why?(This was the top question of my Paris FAQ). Because he don't want to go; he say he don't like shopping and sight-seeing. Bodoh one lar he. But, Paris is really romantic. I was there for 9 days. I love it there and had been plotting to bring my bf back there with me. He he he. But, we don't need to spend 9 days in Paris. 5-6 days is sufficient to see the highlights of romantic Paris. So, therefore I have came up with my own Paris trip itinerary.
Itinerary suggested is not at any particular order.

Day 1 – The Lourve
I am not much of a museum person but I definitely enjoyed my visit to the Lourve. It is a MUST GO especially if you are a fan of Da Vinci Code.
It is not possible to really cover the entire museum in one day. Just don’t miss the famous drawings and sculptures. Actually I only know Mona Lisa, Winged Victory, Venus de Milo. As long as the sculpture is ‘fenced’ up, it is famous to me. He he..
Also, please look out for the part where the movie ended where Tom Hanks actually stood on that BIG piece of glass. I do not remember seeing that even though I was there on the grounds thrice.
Yeah I know. I memang sepet.. I Cina mar.

Day 2- Eiffel Tower- river cruise- Hotel de Invalides – Pont Alexandra III
Eiffel Tower- love of my life. Some people told me it is just a chunk of metal. I strongly disagree. Eiffel Tower is beautiful. The view up there is even more beautiful. Anyway, be really kiasu and go there early in the morning. First, stop by Trocadero. It is the best place to view Eiffel Tower. Then take a walk to Eiffel Tower; crossing beautiful River Seine. Pay EU10.70 to go up to the tip of Eiffel Tower. It is worth it.
After enjoying the view up there, catch the river cruise just at the ‘foot’ of Eiffel Tower. You would be taken on a cruise to view the main spots along River Seine up to the islands- the last spot would be Notre Dame. The tour takes about 45 mins to an hour. I paid Euro 9 for the cruise. Enjoyed every moment of it !
After that, take a walk to Hotel de Invalides. This is where Napolean’s tomb is housed. I did not go in but a friend said it was really grand in there. I was just too saturated with museums after the Lourve. :P
After that, take a walk to Pont Alexandra III. The grandest bridge over River Seine. Hang around there. Take photos and wave at tourists who are taking their river cruise. Hehehe…
Anyway, after that if your legs can still move, just walk another few steps over the bridge to Grand and Petite Royal Palais. Some old palace but now made into exhibition halls
If you ask me, no need to go in. Just snap some photos outside and tell people ' yah... I have been there.. yah.. very nice.. very grand.. very petite... '.
Day 3- Grand Boulevards- Place du Concorde- Champ de Elysees- Arc deTriomphe- La Defense
If you have time and love shopping, take a walk around Grand Boulevards- where you have the super departmental stores - La Fayatte and Printemps.
Sip coffee at their in-door cafe.. ooohhh...
After that, catch a metro to Concorde. Attractions- the huge obelisk, the two fountains ( I posted the photo on the photostream- watch out for it), and statues of 8 ladies/dame. Each of them represent a city. History- this is where that Marie Antoinette was guilotined. Yucks.
But, it is not eerie ler.
Here you can already catch the first glimpse of Arc de Triomphe and the long long Champ De Elysees. Take a long and slow walk along Champ de Elysees towards Arc de Triomphe. Along the way, there are cafes(another place to stop to yam dam cha, yak gor bao - drink tea and eat pastries.), cinemas, car showrooms and branded boutiques, ie.the famous Louis Vuitton.
When we were there, there are these China chinese people who will approach you and ask you to help there to buy LV bags. Well, either you can help them or you can do what we did. We just shook our head as if we don't understand Mandarin and walked off. Hehe.. Not that I do not want to help them. At first I thought they are pickpockets. But actually, they just want to buy the LV bags to bring back to their homeland to sell to those filthy rich brand-conscious people. (**Jealous) Each passport is entitled to a limited units of merchandise.
Be a daredevil and stand in the middle of the avenue to take a full picture of Arc de Triomphe, and the Champ de Elysees. Directly behind you would be Concorde and The Lourve. Really song dou lei sei !!
Ok. Continue the sight seeing to Arc de Triomphe. It is the middle of roundabout that links to 12 avenues. So when you reach this point, you can give directions from 1 o'clock to 12 o'clock.. COOL huh !! If you want to go up Arc de Triomphe that is another EU7. Optional I would say. After that, if you can still walk, take a metro to La Defense. It is slightly outskirt. You will notice the modern feel of this area. High rise and modern art.
Day 4- The islands and Montmarte
Take a metro to station Pont Neuf and walk across Seine River over this Pont Neuf. Literally, it means new bridge but the fact is that this is the oldest bridge in Paris. Here, you can enjoy the view of Place du Justice- their court house. But remind me more of castles dwelled by Sleeping Beauty or Rapunzel. You like lar.
First stop at the island. St Chapalle- entrance Eu 7. They would sell combined tickets (Eu9) to Conciegerie. Skip it. Conciegerie is sort of the old prison. Dark and gloomy. Eerie. Feel so uneasy there. Anyway, St Chapalle is beautiful with the rose windows. There is the lower and upper chapel. Really beautiful and grand !
After St Chapalle, we took a short tour of Place du Justice. No one stopped us so we just happily walked around. He he he.
Next, take a walk along River Seine passing one of the last Flower Markets in Paris towards Notre Dame. Yeah, that famous church in the classic Hunchback of Notre dame. Beautiful rose windows and entrance is free. Unless, if you would like to get close and personal with the gargoyles. Gotta pay EU7 to go up to the top and also get to see the BIG HUGE bell. Cannot remember ? Go watch the cartoon again lar.
Next take a metro to Butt Montmarte (stop- Anvers). This is the highest point in Paris. ( not very high ler- lower than Penang Hill **smug).
Take the furnicular up to Sacred Cour. This is one of my famous architecture. :) Then, take a walk around Montmarte area. Very artistic place. Stone paved roads- ahh... really got FEEL..
After that, walk towards Pigalle. This is sort of like the red light district of Paris. Filled with sex shops, peep shows and even a sex museums. You can bring your kids for sex education here lar. The main attraction hereis the famous Moulin Rouge. Eu 150 for a show with dinner I guess. I did not go in coz I had a heart attack when I saw the price. :P
Day 5- Chateau de Versailles
It is located at the outskirt of Paris. One n half hour away. Take a metro to Pont de Serves then take bus 171. The last stop would be the Chateau already.
I cannot remember the history of this place d. All I remember Marie Antoinette stayed here too and she gave birth in public to ensure the authenticity of the heir. Anyway, you can visit the official site here. http://www.chateauversailles.fr/en/
We were really kiasu that time. Got the one day pass that covers EVERYTHING in the chateau. That cost us EU20. Anyway, after going to the Lourve, things are pretty similiar here. So just get a pass that will take you into the King's Chambers, State Apartments and Hall of Mirrors. That is the indoor thingy.
The gardens are a MUST. The vast land ..the fountains.. That will leave you speechless and breathless coz you gotta really WALK !!. There is the Grand Tranion and Petite Tranion. No need to pay for the pass to go in; just stay out there and take photos. But no matter how tired your legs are, you MUST go to the Queen's Hamlet. It is really different and one of my favourite spots. Cottage feel .... Arrange to go on a weekend or public holiday. They would have the fountain show. I missed it. :( Trust it would be beautiful !
Ok. That should be enough for the Free & Easy 5 day tour. Other costs..
Get Orange Carte. It is EU 15.70 for 7 days- Zone 1 and 2. - starting from Monday to Sunday of that week. Means you cannot user from Wednesday to the next Tuesday; only till the Sunday. Bring a passport photo. But my photo was cut out from the magazine. Well, to them, all the cina ppl look the same one lar !! Hehe.
This card covers metro, buses, the furnicular and also the trip to Versailles. So no worries.
Well, takeaway is the cheapest lor. Or you can buy from supermarkets. Eu3-4 should be able to fill your stomach. But if you want to sit down and tan sai kai at cafes- Eu10 should get you a decent meal. If you want to go for high class one, err.. EU20 per meal should be ok guaa...
Well, eat bread bread bread and the pastries.. Try their rum & raisin yogurt from the supermarket. Cheese - is a MUST !! Gelato (Ice cream) too !!
Sming's Basic French
Sortie- One of the first word we learn-means EXIT. Pronounced as Soh di...
Sephora- Sei for la ! This is a chain outlet like our SASA only 10 times bigger, with all the brands. Biotherm la, Elizabeth Arden la, Issey Miyake la, Lancome la, Kose la, Sisley la, Loreal la.. you name it, they have it. It is heaven ! But for people on budget like me.-sei for lor....
Champ de Elysee- song dou lei sei- with the shops, the cafe's, the view.. really syiok till you die...

Anyway, there is no need to really pick up French there. Most of the tourist spots have English speaking staff. But you have to your luck, some are polite some are not. About the people there, err.. no comment except Malaysians better.. Yay !
Not many leng chais also. Take note of the bed size when you are at The Lourve or Versailles.
Visiting Paris has always been my childhood dream. And, to be able to visit Paris as my first Europe country is also a blessing. Of coz, I need to thank Hooi Yao, Laura and Aunty for their kindness and great hospitality. TBK for driving us to Mont St Michel and seeing night Paris. Also, Lorena for her wonderful companionship.Thank you!! **Hugssss
In a nutshell, I enjoyed Paris very much! It was a great trip. Definitely going back !!
posted by sming @ 12:22 PM  
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